This post is part of the Escaping the Crowds series, which focuses on escape mechanism for PvP.

Today, we start with a definition.

martyrdom |ˈmärtərdəm|
the death or suffering of a martyr.

Which obviously leads to another one.

martyr |ˈmärtər|
a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs.

The martyr is of course the Paladin, who is killed for his belief in… Erm… Well… His belief in being part of the opposite team. People actually get killed for no reason nowadays.

So I’d like to help with this suffering of his, and I have come up with something rather unorthodox.




(Instant, 6 min cooldown) For the duration, all directly damaging attacks against you [the paladin] deal damage over time instead. This damage is dealt every 3 seconds, for 60 seconds, and cannot be prevented by any way. Lasts 10 seconds.

Read tooltip.

Explain all about it after the break.

Similarly to the two last abilities, I will give an overview using the B.O.P.N.L.F technique, commonly known as Bopnelf.

Hm, I’ve never heard of such a thing. Is that a Night Elf that is Bound On Pickup ?

No. Actually it stands for the analysis criterion I’ve previously used.

Buff. Overpowered. PvE. Nerf list. Lore. Fun.

Try to remember it for next smile (*wink*).

But before I start, I think a better explanation is in order.

It does WHAT ?

If you don’t understand how this works, you shouldn’t feel ashamed about that. It isn’t a typical Blizzardish ability, and I will shed a bit more light over it.

For 10 seconds, instead of being damaged normally by attacks that are not DoTs, the damage is evenly spread over a whole minute, but cannot be avoided. Not explicitly stated, but this also affect the direct part of attacks such as Moonfire and Immolate.

Still not clear? I’ll give an example.

Let’s say Uther, who is a Paladin, uses the ability, instantly becoming a martyr. He is then hit for 6000 damage, but this does not affect him directly. Instead, Uther is inflicted by 300 points of damage every 3 seconds, for one minute. If 6 seconds later he is hit for additional 6000 damage, the periodic damage increases to 633.3 points per tick (300 + 333.3, since the additional 6000 points of damage are now spread over the remaining 18 ticks). Lastly, when Uther is hit again, after 10 seconds when the ability has faded, he takes the damage normally, in addition to the ticking damage over time.

Hopefully, it is now better understood.

Is that even a Buff?

Well, yes. It is.

Its benefit is actually greater than meets the eye.

First, it is a huge burst damage preventer. Most (since it doesn’t affect pure DoTs) damage inflicted within the ten seconds has its DPS reduced by a factor of up to 6. That’s pretty big. So when the Paladin is ambushed by Rogues or Warriors, which deal him 2000 damage per second for example, it is actually converted to 333 DPS (2000 over 10 seconds is 20,000 damage, which is now dealt over 60 seconds).

This is something the Paladin can easily deal with using his heals.

Next. While this doesn’t actually reduce the amount of damage received, it does provide “virtual” damage mitigation for a short duration of time. Using the numbers from the last paragraph, instead of being afflicted with 20k points of damage within 10 seconds, the Paladin only suffers 5000 points within 4 ticks (12 seconds), and the rest is dealt during the remaining time. In a way, it provides 75% damage reduction.

This gives him more time on his feet.

Last, but not least. Damage over time does not cause spell pushback. Since all direct damage is converted into one big DoT, the Paladin is never directly hit for the buff’s duration. It might not change much for the hardcore Holy spec which was trained by Shaolin monks to cast inside a typhoon storm without blinking, but it’s still a perk.

This gives him the ability to cast peacefully.

Score: 9.5/10

While it doesn’t actually help them escape, it does give their opponent a hard time to be done with them. And we’ve already decided that Paladins are both tough and rough, so let’s leave the running to the sissies.

I see. But isn’t that Overpowered then?

I’m not sure about overpowered, but it can be extremely annoying for the person trying to kill the Paladin. For 10 seconds, they are going to see only 25% of their damage being dealt, and even that is going to be slowly ticking every 3 seconds instead of all-at-once by a burst of stabbing or whatever-not.

And that is in addition to all those spells they already have that make them incredibly hard to kill. But I think this is one of the class’ traits. As I heard them being referred once, the cockroaches of the World of Warcraft.

Still. This ability might be OP because it almost grants the Paladin 10 seconds of care-free time to gain his allies’ help, or reorganize, in addition to tools such as Divine Shield. It might be OP because it makes him the only class capable of sustaining a short duration of 6000 incoming damage per second, where all other classes would be dead in two seconds.

On the other hand. It does not make it OP because ultimately, the Paladin suffers all the damage. Even if he uses Divine Protection as a follow-up to Martyrdom, it does not prevent it. It is not that OP because 10 seconds later, when the Rogue or Warrior are still smacking him with 2000 damage blows, the Paladin still has to worry about the remaining ticks, for 50 more seconds.

Score: 7/10

Because it just makes the Paladin even harder to kill, but where there is a will, there is a way.

So it will greatly affect PvE, no?

You may have a point there.

Beyond their healing powers, Paladins are also renowned as great protectors, or by the more formal term, Tanks.

Tanks just love mitigation. Martyrdom supplies it, with a (poisoned?) cherry on top. It doesn’t actually prevent any damage, but what it does is flatten burst damage. That big 7000 damage blow that was about to kill you? It’s still there, but it’s now 20 much smaller blows, which your healer can probably handle.

The cherry could be poisoned however, because when used incorrectly, the sum of further incoming damage and the DoT caused by Martyrdom could be too much for the healer to handle.

So yes, it will affect PvE by granting Paladin tanks another skill they can use while tanking. This raises two issues. First, it might make some instance encounters more trivial. Second, it makes Paladins no longer balanced with other tanks, such as Druids or Warriors.

Side Note: At the moment, Paladins do not have panic buttons for tanking, so this could kill two birds with one stone.

Score: High

Here comes the Nerf bat!


Hey! Stop swinging that thing!

There are a few things we can do.

  1. Reducing the duration. The typical solution that fits all. If the buff would last less, such as 8 or 6 seconds, it would mean the “virtual” damage mitigation would not last as long. Brilliant.
  2. Reducing the number of ticks. Reducing the twenty 3-second ticks to ten would make the DPS factor reduction to decrease by half. That would mean the ticks will inflict more damage, and the Paladin will be less care-free overall.
  3. Martyrdom causes Forbearance. The implications are obvious, which also makes this nerf very bad.

My honest opinion is that the 2nd option is probably the best solution to cases of imbalance, but theorycrafting an ability that doesn’t even exist stands on the border of insanity. I will stop now.

Martyr? What’s that to do with the Lore?

Glad you asked.

Martyrs suffer for a long period of time for the wrongdoing of those who oppose them. But, this suffering is also what pushes them onwards, granting them some strength in a way.

Lord, grant me strength to stand tall over my enemies.
But strength is not a free-ride.

Does this sound like Fun to you?


It is not something that makes you blow things to little pieces (yes, I know you like doing that), but it is something that will pull you out of hairy situations. Looking back at those, I think you might even smile a little.

The only funny application I can see for it, is pulling all the wolves of Elwynn Forest, martyring through their damage, then quickly running to Goldshire while the DoT is in effect then dramatically dying in the center of all the role-players while shouting predictions of Armageddon.

Are you going to Conclude all of this?

No. But here’s an invented quote for the day.

The day a martyr will supress his suffering is the day much will lose its meaning
— Father Helvantos


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